Dennis McCarthy – Deep Space Nine: Emissary: An Unexpected Treat

In the pantheon of composers who have worked on Star Trek, none are more prolific than Dennis McCarthy, who has been working with the franchise since the debut episode of The Next Generation to the final episode of Enterprise. Of course, whether you think that's a good thing or bad depends on your opinion of his music.

With the rather large caveat that Mr. McCarthy's composing abilities were limited by the franchise’s producers and production capabilities, who placed less emphasis on bold thematic music in favor of reusable "mood" and "atmospheric" cues, I must admit that, on the whole, I've not been impressed. I know it's not the composer's fault, and that I'm probably unfairly comparing his work to the more grandiose Star Trek film scores, but it's hard to wrap my head around the largely ambient, mood-setting scoring. a similar complaint I have regarding the bulk of Christopher Franke's Babylon 5 music. Maybe it's just a general limitation of writing music for television.

However, I recently listened to McCarthy's score for the premiere episode of Deep Space Nine (Emissary) and was quite surprised at its musical complexity. Though I've never been a big fan of the lumbering syncopation of the show's main title, I can’t help but get caught up in its a magnificent crescendo. It’s a perfect segue into each episode.

While McCarthy's music for the Borg Battle at Wolf 359 is not nearly as menacing or action-packed as Ron Jones' from The Best of Both Worlds, it too ends on a dramatic note that works, both by itself and on screen as we see Sisko's escape pod leave the Saratoga just before its destruction.

The score, from there, delves into the backdrop zone until the track Cucumbers in Space, an oddly-named piece of futuristic head-bopping source music. The score reaches a highlight on Into the Wormhole which evokes Jerry Goldsmith's exquisite V'Ger flyover music from the first motion picture. Later, during Reconciliation there's a cue that's reminiscent of one of my favorite passages from the third movement of Mahler's sixth symphony.

All in all, I found the score to Emissary to be an unexpected treat.

First Contact Complete: Jerry Goldsmith is da man

I'm continuing the tunequest at work, listening to the bonus tracks portion of the Star Trek First Contact score by the ever-illustrious Jerry Goldsmith, whose talents and I don't really need to say this are legendary. I found this bootleg online about 3 years ago, around the same time a lot of other of his Star Trek "complete scores" bootlegs were making some rounds on the internet.

At just shy of 2 hours long, the bootleg nearly doubles the amount of music from the official 1996 album. In addition to the complete score, the bootleg contains 13 bonus tracks, such as alternate takes and cues that were not used in the published version. The best part however, is the final bonus track. It's a raw recording session of the First Contact overture, complete with orchestral chattering and warm up. I enjoy this piece because of its lack of polish; it's a straight-up live performance. and it *sounds* great. the extra ambient noise and talking give it a real you-are-there feel.

Shatner Rapping: No Tears for Caesar

Part of the Musical Star Trek Actors Series

  1. Shatner Rapping: No Tears for Caesar
  2. Leonard Nimoy – Mr. Spock’s Music From Outer Space

Below is the music video for No Tears For Caesar, available on the bonus materials DVD for Free Enterprise.

William Shatner raps some Shakespeare, Marc Anthony’s speech from Julius Caesar specifically. And true to form, the good Cap’n Kirk doesn’t disappoint; he’s always entertaining when he’s got a microphone. That’s the theory behind those old ads anyway.

The song and video No Tears For Caesar from the 1998 movie Free Enterprise (a film tailor-made for the post-modern Star Trek fan) are, as Spock would say, fascinating little productions. Shatner rapping… well not rapping so much as doing his trademark spoken word routine, a kind of precursor to 2004’s Has Been.

In any event, I whole-heartedly recommend the film. It’s worth it for Shatner alone, but has lots of other trek-related gems, like Jerry Goldsmith references! and yes, i’m genuinely excited by those.

Oh. this isn’t Shatner’s only Shakespeare recording; his 1968 record The Transformed Man contains some much-exaggerated spoken word from Hamlet, Henry V and Romeo & Juliet.